Flights from Russia to Kazakhstan to become cheaper, as new low-cost airline arrives in the market

Flights from Russia to Kazakhstan will become cheaper by about 10-15% in December 2019.

This will happen in connection with the arrival of the Kazakhstan’s low-cost airline named FlyArystan arriving in the Russia’s civil aviation market, according to experts’ surveys. The air carrier will fly from Moscow, Russia, to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. And since 2020, this air carrier has been considering launching its flights to other Russian cities, for example, Kazan and Sochi, Zhanar Zhailauova, marketing director, FlyArystan, told Izvestia. Now direct flights to Nur Sultan are carried out by Russia’s Aeroflot and Kazakhstan’s Air Astana and SCAT Airlines. Analysts note that the Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, is not very popular among Russian tourists, so there will most likely not be much demand for this destination. Before making large-scale plans for entering the Russian civil aviation market, the low-cost airline will first have to master its new Moscow destination.

The low-cost airline named FlyArystan, a subsidiary of the Kazakhstan’s flag air carrier, Air Astana, is considering regional airports in Russia to expand its air route network, Mrs. Zhailauova told Izvestia on the sidelines of the ‘Wings of Russia’ Forum. According to her, we are talking about Russian cities within four hours of the flight from the capital of Kazakhstan. This radius includes, for example, Russia’s Kazan, Samara, Sochi and Nizhny Novgorod.

In this case, the air carrier does not consider the St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo International Airport, even in the future. The economy of flights over such distances is different, and does not fit into the financial model of the airline, the FlyArystan representative explained.

In May 2019, the low-cost airline began operating its domestic flights from Almaty to six cities of Kazakhstan. In October, the air company announced that, starting from December 13, 2019 it will begin to carry its passengers from Nur-Sultan to Moscow (Zhukovsky International Airport). Air ticket sales have been opened since October 22, 2019. The schedule provides for the operation of the roundtrip daily flights, i.e.– Moscow – Nur-Sultan, on an Airbus A320.

According to Mrs. Zhailauova, new low-cost flights in Russia may appear next year after expanding the fleet. Currently, the air carrier has three A320s transferred by the parent company Air Astana. In December, another aircraft will be handed over to the low-cost airline, which is planned to be servicing the flights to Moscow. In 2020, the air company intends to bring the fleet up to 10 aircraft.

“Air Astana replaces A320ceo aircraft with an updated version of the A320neo, the aircraft, which, in particular, has improved engine efficiency. And the “classic” A320s will be given to us,” Mrs. Zhailauova explained.

You can fly with FlyArystan from Moscow to Nur Sultan for just 3.5 hours. The minimum price of a round-trip air ticket is RUR 6.7 thousand. But, as in any low-cost airline, passengers will have to pay extra for choosing a seat, baggage, meals, etc. The maximum tariff, including all services, is about RUR 18 thousand.

Aeroflot, Kazakhstan’s Air Astana and SCAT Airlines also have direct flights from Moscow to the capital of Kazakhstan.

FlyArystan does not plan to take passengers away from the “classic” air carriers, but it intends to increase traffic en route Moscow – Nur-Sultan at the expense of new customers – those who currently travel from Russia to Kazakhstan by rail or road. It is assumed that cheap flights will stimulate the development of mutual tourism.

At present, a flight from Moscow to the capital of Kazakhstan and back costs an average of about RUR 13 thousand, according to Biletix. Since October 20, 2019 air tickets for these flights have fallen in price by about 4%, Biletix told Izvestia. But this is associated with seasonal price adjustment, since the aggregator does not yet have a contract for the sale of FlyArystan’s air tickets.

Tutu.ru, the service also does not work with FlyArystan yet, noticed that, as regards Moscow – Nur-Sultan flights, there was no noticeable increase in air ticket prices for the New Year, when demand has traditionally grown. The service representative noted that Aeroflot and Air Astana have not yet significantly corrected the price tags, but SCAT Airlines has already done this and the minimum air ticket price has dropped from RUR 8 thousand to RUR 5 thousand. According to Tutu.ru, there will be major price competition between these airlines.

The Aviasales service, where FlyArystan Airlines’ tickets are on sale, has already recorded a sharp drop in the average cost in economy class for the Moscow – Nur-Sultan flights for the New Year holidays – by 23%, so they cost RUR 11.6 thousand in average. This is a direct consequence of the emergence of a new player, Janis Dzenis, PR-director, Aviasales, told Izvestia. He also drew attention to the double growth of early December’s air ticket sales for these particular flights.

Nowadays, Nur Sultan can also be reached with transfers, for example, through Minsk, Baku, Warsaw, Almaty, Omsk or Yekaterinburg. But such a flight will take at least twice as much time, and the minimum air ticket price will also increase.

Igor Konstantinov, Director General, Biletix, explained that typically, appearance of the low-cost air carrier reduces the average check for the flight by about 10-15%. The cost of air tickets from Russia to the capital of Kazakhstan will have to be reduced by the “classic” airlines, Boris Rybak, CEO, Infomost Consulting Company, is also sure. This always happens when a low-cost airline appears in one direction or another, he told Izvestia.

Speaking about the prospects of expanding FlyArystan’s flights to regional Russian airports, Mr. Rybak noted that first you need “to roll out the Moscow destination” and attract passengers to the not-so-convenient airport near Moscow. Alexei Kalachev, Finama transport analyst, noted that the capital of Kazakhstan is not very popular among Russian tourists, so there is likely to be no great demand for these flights.

By the time when this issue of Izvestia was published, neither Air Astana nor SCAT Airlines have responded to Izvestia’s requests.

Source – https://iz.ru/

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